Cup defeat showed Man City are not a team to fear

Whilst we lost to Manchester City in the cup, there were plenty of positives that we could take and carry into tonight’s game.

Haaland don’t like it up him

In the games I have seen Erling Haaland struggle in this season – and there have not been many – he has had a defender stick right to him.

Against us in the Cup, it was firstly Rob Holding and then William Saiba. He barely got a sniff.

Haaland is a fantastic finisher and comes alive in the box. But he does not have a little trick to get the better of a touch tight defender. He reminds me a lot of Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Likewise, he is not great at laying it off to team mates.

If a defender is tight to you, you should be looking to draw in your opponent before laying it off to a team mate in more space. Harry Kane is fantastic at this. As was Olivier Giroud. Haaland doesn’t have the “quick lay off” in his locker.

Like in the Cup, we need someone to be tight to Haaland to restrict him. This then frustrates him. And if that player gets booked, Mikel Arteta needs to not be afraid of making a change.

Martinelli / Trossard axis

Man City’s full backs are a threat going forward. But they can also be got at in defence.

Trossard gave Rico Lewis a torrid time in the Cup game. And then Gabriel Martinelli came on and further increased the intensity.

Knowing that they will only play 65/30 minutes each will lead to the pair not needing to pace themselves as much. And then as one tires, the other comes on.

This will no only keep Man City’s right back pinned back for 90 minutes, but also provide a fantastic attacking outlet for us to go on and score.

No Lokonga, more Partey

We massively missed Thomas Partey when he went off at half time with a rib injury. The difference between Partey and Albert Sambi Lokonga is the biggest positional drop off at the club right now.

A fit and ready Partey makes a huge difference to the team

Strength of XIs

In the Cup, Man City basically played their strongest XI.

Ben White, William Saliba, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli were all missing from the starting l line up. That is half of our strongest outfield players.

All 5 are set to start tonight against Man City. If a 50/50 1st/2nd XI can dominate the champions on their patch, what can our strongest team do at home?

The Cup game showed we can compete with City. Now we just need the 3 points.



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